Where’s the Beef?

[Disclaimer: This was written beforehand, so it is not a reaction to any particular message at any particular Feast site.  However, I find it helpful halfway through the Feast to be reminded of some things.]

Sometimes you hear people talk about either getting or not getting “good meat” at services.  You especially hear that at the Feast.  I get a little annoyed sometimes when people say, “This is basic stuff.  I want some meat!”  Well, what is “meat”, anyhow?  Do we really know the difference between a steak and a soy burger?

Well, I’m here to tell you that “meat” is not prophetic speculations.  Meat does not necessarily mean “new truth”, either.  A sirloin is only new once.  It is still meat the 3rd or 4th time it is served to you!  In fact, if I hear a sermon that uses the phrase “new truth”, I’m likely to start locating the exit sign in case it gets bad.

The analogy of meat is used by Paul in 1 Corinthians and by the writer of Hebrews (which is further proof to me that Paul wrote Hebrews).

 1And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

 2I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

 3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? (1 Corinthians 3:1-3, King James Version)

 11Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.

 12For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

 13For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

 14But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:11-14, King James Version)

Babes, then, are carnal, not able to hear well and haven’t yet exercised their discernment fully.  Why?  They are new to the faith!  They are still getting the basics down.

What are the basics?  We are told in the very next chapter!

 1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,

2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. (Hebrews 6:1-2, New King James Version)

Could it be any clearer?  These are the basic doctrines of the Church!  This is the milk!  In this letter to the Hebrews, a Jewish audience, these doctrines would be what was required to move from Judaism into Christianity.  So, they would have already understood the Sabbath, Holy Days and clean and unclean meats.  On that foundation, then, would be the basic milk of Christianity.

Anything above and beyond this is meat, brethren!

Want to know something else?  I love a glass of milk at dinner.  There isn’t much more satisfying than a nice sirloin with garlic mashed potatoes washed down with a glass of nice, cold milk.  I hope I never get too old to have this simple pleasure in life at least occasionally.  I am thankful for milk.

So, even if you think all you are getting is “milk”, don’t knock it.  It may be that your definition is wrong.  It may also be that someone starving to death might desire just a little sip of your milk.  Think about it.

What you don’t want to do is be like ancient Israel, wandering in a spiritual wilderness of confusion, moaning and grumbling because you don’t have meat to eat.  Israel got their wish, but a lot of them died when they got their wish.

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